Flipgrid Story: Sam Richards

Sam Richards, sociologist, Penn State University Professor, TED Speaker, and among "The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," uses Flipgrid in his race relations course of more than 750 students in one room, the largest such course in the US.

Soc 119 Race Relations has politically incorrect conversations that change the way students think. With such a large class, it's impossible to have every student participate in such an important discussion. That's why Sam uses Flipgrid to host conversations within his 51 discussion groups and have communication with students outside of their assigned groups. He appreciates that Flipgrid "allows students to … be more candid than they would be in … face-to-face communications and, because it’s only ninety seconds, it allows them, or forces them, to actually think about their responses before they start talking."

In a Penn State News article, Julie Eble quotes Richards with, “Enabling students to use their cellphones improves their research skills and creates great discussions points … [and] with Flipgrid they have the opportunity to re-examine the world and challenge what they believe to be their place in it.”

We're intrigued! Do you have room for a few extra students, Sam?

Hear Sam's Flipgrid Story below.

Flipgrid Story: Ramesh Laungani

Flipgrid empowers educators around the world to actively engage students with their curriculum and with one another. After seeing a few of his awesome tweets and watching Doane University’s Dr. Ramesh Laungani explain how Flipgrid enhanced his classroom by coaching his first-year biology students to “clearly and concisely articulate ideas and questions” and enabling him to identify and clarify misconceptions, we reached out to learn more about Ramesh’s #FlipgridStory.

Where do you use Flipgrid?

I used Flipgrid in two courses that I taught this past Spring semester. One course was the second introductory biology class in our 3 course core series. This class was primarily first-year students. We had 3 sections of this course and each section had about 30 students.
I also used Flipgrid in a smaller seminar type course with 8 first year STEM students (from a variety of science disciplines). Flipgrid was also used in 2 upper level biology courses [at] Doane University by my colleague Dr. Brad Elder. He used it in his Evolution class and a class focused on upper level students designing experiments for their senior research projects.

How easy was it to start using Flipgrid with your curriculum?

Everyone in my department learned about Flipgrid only 3-4 days before the spring semester began, and as soon as we saw what it could do we adopted it into our courses for this past spring. So within a matter of 72 hours Flipgrid was fully integrated into my introductory biology course syllabus as if I had had it planned for months. Making a grid and adding questions (both video and text) could not have been any easier. I was also able to add questions easily on the fly during the semester as the class needed it. For my seminar course it was the same story, easy!

How often do you use Flipgrid with your students?

In my introductory biology course we had the students create lecture video summaries that related a case study from class to a large biology concept (we called it the 'Bottom Line') that could be applied to many biological systems, not just the one discussed in class.  We had the students make a total of 13 videos throughout the semester (so nearly 1 per week).
In my seminar I had my students summarize articles about recent scientific discoveries and had other students "reply" to those videos explaining what was so interesting about the idea in the first video.  This was done about 3 times. Thus, I am particularly excited about the "Reply" feature coming out in August.

What other resources do you use in your classroom?

My biology class is a pretty active classroom. There is a lot of small group work with students predicting experimental results based on hypotheses. I podcast all of my lectures using software called ProfCast. I have been doing this for years and this technology has been adopted by many of my colleagues. This has allowed me to flip my classroom and acts as a great review tool for my students.

In what ways have Flipgrid influenced the way you educate?

I am an ecologist by training, specifically an ecologist who studies how carbon cycles in ecosystems. This gives me a deep understanding of topics like human-driven climate change. As such, I have also recognized the importance of being able to clearly and concisely articulate complicated ideas orally. Therefore, oral communication has always been a significant component of my courses. Flipgrid has provided an absolutely amazing way of allowing my students to work on these exact skills that are so important. For a scientist to be able to clearly articulate themselves is a skill that takes practice and Flipgrid allows for that skill to be developed in the young scientists that I work with everyday.

How else have you used Flipgrid?

Outside of the classroom I have used Flipgrid to help setup a SciComm event here in Nebraska.

Thank you, Ramesh, we're grateful to have you in our Flipgrid Family and look forward to being part of your continued success!

Hear more from Ramesh below.